WayBlazer takes the information overload out of vacation planning with IBM Cloud

Online travel application uses IBM Watson to deliver the most relevant answers to natural language questions


Marcia’s family figured that since she was a “local,” she should be in charge of making the hotel arrangements for her grandparents’ joint 85th birthday celebration. They wanted to have the get-together over Thanksgiving weekend in Orlando, Florida, because Marcia, had been raving about how warm and sunny Florida is compared to the cold in Minnesota where her family still lives. However, every time she tried to research the many activities and preferences that would make this reunion enjoyable for all, she was overwhelmed with too much information. Of course she knew how to book a hotel, but she needed to feel confident that she’d found the right spot with easy access to golf, shopping and a spa, as well as things her nieces and nephews would want to do.

Marcia typically conducted online searches so when she heard about a new app called Visit Orlando that she’d be able to use from her smartphone she was all over it.

Created by CN2, an app developer, with natural language search capabilities from WayBlazer, ‘Visit Orlando’ is a destination mobile app that uses artificial intelligence technology from IBM to understand conversational language. It pulls in declared (facts shared when a user signs up), observed (information from a linked social media profile), and inferred (evidence from previous searches) data from users. The app then offers personalized recommendations tailored to users’ specific needs and preferences.

WayBlazer used the IBM cloud platform to incorporate Watson services for natural language processing. Watson has the cognitive computing ability to interpret unstructured social sentiment, images and reviews across multiple sites.

When Marcia asks Watson to search for

● Where can I play golf in Orlando?

● Which hotel has a spa?

● Which hotel has babysitting?

she’ll get only the top results instead of hundreds.

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, WayBlazer offers its cognitive solution through application programming interfaces (APIs) or as a web and app interface for hospitality companies such as online travel agents, hotels and airlines to connect travelers and hotels in new ways. For example, the application could help a travel agent who primarily has domestic expertise recommend with confidence the right properties for a European vacation. It could enable an airline to customize its email marketing efforts, targeting its frequent fliers with fare and destination offers that would hold specific appeal. It could even enable a robot concierge named Connie at the Hilton in McLean, Virginia. And with companies like Luxury Hotels of the World, WayBlazer technology reads descriptions, looks at photos and peruses reviews, highlighting the best matches to better surface and merchandise the most relevant content. For example, someone who wants to book a hotel for a bachelor party would be shown different hotel features, reviews, and photographs than someone who wanted to book a family vacation. Reviews could be excerpted and bolded to show the most salient and positive information and the hero image would be different for the best man than for the family man.

Busy people don’t have time to read all the reviews on each property. With the WayBlazer technology, travelers don’t need to wade through 50 reviews for each hotel before they are confident that they’re making a good decision.

Marcia was relieved when she selected and emailed the links of her top three hotels to her parents. She was sure that they’d easily reach a consensus and then she’d book the rooms. She and her family would have much more time to look forward to the trip than she would spend planning it.